Leading Lights: Rwanda enjoys ‘collaborative’ relations with China

Rwanda President Paul Kagame speaks to Li Peichun, Deputy Bureau Chief of CMG Africa.
Rwanda President Paul Kagame speaks to Li Peichun, Deputy Bureau Chief of CMG Africa.

Asked to pick a word to describe relations between Rwanda and China, Rwandan President Paul Kagame said, “collaborative”.

“That’s one word but what I want to mean by that word is that China seeks to understand our view and they want to support what we are doing by understanding what we want. And we are able to communicate to China our view and what we want and where we think they can be helpful.”

Kagame made the remarks in an interview with CGTN Africa, in which he detailed some of the benefits his country has achieved from its ties with Beijing.

Next month, China and Rwanda will be marking the 51st anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. And Kagame wants to elevate those relations even higher.

President Kagame pointed out that so far, China has contributed to the modernization of many sectors in Rwanda, including infrastructure, health and education. It’s a relationship he hopes the two friends can sustain for a long time.

“Sustainability. Yes, I would use the word now sustainability, from collaborative to the future, it is sustainability. Has the collaborative relationship worked? If it has, how do you sustain it? So that’s what I would use for the future,” he said.

The Rwandan Head of State also said Rwanda and Africa would not be coerced to tarnish their relationship with China based on prejudice by other nations that are against Sino-African cooperation. He said the continent was capable of making its own decisions.

Kagame also used the opportunity to appreciate China for rising beyond common national challenges to achieve prosperity for its population.

“You look at the history you look at the many challenges any country has to contend with, and so you’re able to appreciate some of the things that have brought China to this greatness; the investment in their own people; their investments in all kinds of development, like you know the infrastructure, the educated population, the technology, development,” he said.